Rasashastra

Dagmar Wujastyk

Aurifiction revisited

We are nearing the end of this series of experiments. But before we wrap up with one last recipe, we want to revisit one we did before: A recipe for imitating gold from the Rasaprakāśasudhākara.

This is the recipe:

 

ताम्रे सप्तगुणं नागं‌ वाहितं पुनरेव हि /

तेन ताम्रेण रसकं सप्तवारं च वाहयेत् // ५४ //

Dagmar Wujastyk

 

Out of all the recipes we chose, this one probably had us scratching our heads the most: The Rasaprakāśasudhākara’s second recipe for making silver. It features uncertain, and exotic materials, and an unusual method.

 

खण्डं कर्षप्रमाणं हि सुमलक्षारकस्य हि

वेष्टितं नरकेशेन द्रुते नागे निमज्जितम् //७४//

निर्वापितं निम्बुजले चैकविंशतिवारकम्

Dagmar Wujastyk

Argentifaction – Making silver

When Andrew and I selected recipes for this series of experiments, we favoured recipes that appeared simple. Method 14 for making silver made the cut because it was short and featured only a few ingredients: copper, brass, bronze, arsenic sulfide, and silver. Nothing too fancy.

Dagmar Wujastyk

We have arrived at the eighth, and for us, final procedure! This step is called the stimulating or kindling (dīpana) of mercury. And here is what the text (Rasahṛdayatantra, chapter 2, verse 11) tells us about this step:
 

Dagmar Wujastyk

In the sixth procedure, the mercury was supposed to regain its power, which had been suppressed through the earlier cleansing procedures.

Dagmar Wujastyk
Dagmar Wujastyk

Nine months into this experiment, we have arrived at the fifth procedure: pātana. This procedure is meant to rid the mercury once and for all of any residual amounts of tin and lead, which are understood as contaminants that render mercury poisonous. The procedure involves preparing a copper-mercury mixture.

Dagmar Wujastyk

Preparing ingredients for the fifth procedure

 

ALCHEMY READER

The Alchemy Reader will provide a broad introduction to Indian alchemy, tracing and explaining alchemical thought as it developed on the Indian subcontinent. Drawing on a selection of the most important Sanskrit alchemical works from the tenth to eighteenth centuries, it will offer the reader deep insight into the motivations and goals of Indian alchemists and will illuminate the theories and methods they developed over time.

Dagmar Wujastyk
Condensation device - patanayantra

The fourth procedure: Bringing mercury to a rise (utthāpana)

 

The mercury, still thickened from the preceding procedure, will now be brought back to its more familiar shine and mobility with the fourth procedure, 'utthāpana' - 'bringing to a rise', i.e., letting mercury evaporate and then condense in its cleansed form.

 

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